How to Get Noticed by Your Boss

This is a guest post by Jeremy Kingsley. He is the president of OneLife Leadership. He has written four books. His newest one, Inspired People Produce Results, will be published by McGraw-Hill in March 2013. You can follow him on Twitter.

Have you ever wondered what it would take to get noticed by the “big boss?” To get promoted? To get a raise? What do I need to consistently do to achieve professional advancement?

Two Business Executives Shaking Hands - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #18859584

Photo courtesy of ©

We often overanalyze and forget to stick to fundamental principles that have worked for years. Let’s keep the answer easy and simple by concentrating on “The Three C’s of Professional Growth: Competency, Commitment, and Courtesy.”

  1. Are you competent? I like this definition for Competent: “The ability to consistently perform activities to the standards required for the job you are in or the job you desire.”

    Research shows that basic competencies will often advance your career more than your IQ! Focus on your strengths.

    • Are you gifted in organizing, research, tech, or simply working well with people?
    • Are you willing to learn to raise your level of competence?
    • Are you becoming more educated in your area, finding ways to prove to your boss that you are very valuable in your current position but hungry for more responsibility?

    It’s not always about being exceptional. Great leaders know that there is great value in being consistently competent.

  2. Are you committed? Have you ever known someone who changes jobs often? Each time you get together for lunch you are hearing how he was “going nowhere” at his old job and the work was “not his cup of tea.” I wonder how many people were close to advancement but left to early. People change jobs at alarming rates.

    Good leaders notice commitment. They do not want to see an employee who is “in” one day and “out” the next.

    • Do your co-workers always hear you talking about putting your resume out?
    • Do they see you searching the internet for new opportunities?
    • Do they hear you talking about how excited you are about where the company is going and how you could see yourself with this group for a long time?

    Leaders like to promote from within, especially those that have shown they are “all in.”

  3. Are you courteous? No one likes a person who is rude. It’s amazing today how many employees lack common manners. This can often cost a company profits and potential or repeat customers.

    How you treat people is vital, not only customers but also fellow employees. Simple things like giving your full attention, knocking on a door before entering, asking before borrowing or taking, using a calm voice when there is a problem, can go a long way.

    I know when I go into stores, I always appreciate it when the sales person is friendly, honest, and treats me like someone they hope will consistently return. Guess what, I do!

    Nothing will put you in the “dog house” faster than seeing you treat a customer or co-worker in a rude way. On the other hand, consistently treating people with courtesy could be a step toward the next level.

The Three C’s: Competency, Commitment, and Courtesy are three things that upper management will take notice of and can put you on the path to career advancement.

Question: On which of these do you need to focus to take your career to the next level
? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Cyberquill

    Not sure about competent and committed, but I think I’m plenty courteous. 
    However, not everybody always agrees. 

    For instance, here’s a passage about me from a restaurant review that was actually printed in a New York City magazine some years ago — I’m NOT making this up: 

    Our waiter, Peter the Inhospitable (not his real moniker, athough it should be), afforded my supper companion and I [sic] with the brand of hospitality one would essentially expect to find in a federal prison: unsmiling, uncommunicative, uncomfortable and unhappy. 

    (The author of this review hypercorrected. It should be “afforded my supper companion and me“, not  I. But that’s beside the point.) 

    Needless to say, I once again “changed jobs” soon after this article appeared. 

    So as per the quote posted by Mr Hyatt the other day (“You cannot be anything you want to be — but you can be a lot more of who you already are”),  in order to take my career to the next level, I suppose I should focus on cranking up rather than toning down my “anti-social proclivities” (the ultimate diagnosis bestowed upon me further down in said review). 

  • Christopher Harold

    Great Post! Under Committed I would add “works to ensure his/her immediate supervisor or project team looks good to their peer group and supervisors.” Some of the best employees realize to raise my star in the organization, I should look to raise the stars of the people around me. Excellent work is essential, but work that makes everyone involved look excellent is extrodinary.

    • Jeremy Kingsley

      Thanks for the kind words and great thought about “raising the stars of people around me.” Jeremy Kingsley

  • Alex Barker

    Commitment needs improvement.
    My current employer has some shady practices. I am doing my best to avoid the discussion with coworkers or let it affect my performance. In fact, I say to my wife often that “There’s no where to go but up” with my job.
    So I could work for my company and be promoted relatively quickly (another 2-3 years), but then I would be associated with the company. It could affect my reputation and some might decline my CV if they saw the name of the company.
    With a select few, I discuss my future ambitions to leave to accomplish my life plan.

    Anyone else struggle with commitment with unethical employers? How do you remain committed to the organization?

    • Jeremy Kingsley

      Thank you for your thoughts and questions. Commitment is connected to multiple areas. You want to be committed to your company, you want the company to be committed to you, but a hard question that often comes up –  are you both committed to the same principles and values? Two quick thoughts: 1. Could you be part of the solution to “raising the bar” when it comes to ethics and are there teammates there who would join in changing the culture? 2. Assess if the culture is having to negative affect on your value system, your work, your life and would a different organization be a better fit?

      • Alex Barker

         Thank you for the reply Jeremy!
        We could talk hours on changing culture and ethics, and I would love every minute. But we are limited :(
        There are members that would love that change. I’m trying little things here and there to boost moral. For example, I learned from Dale Carnegie to always thank people for their accomplishments. I write thank you cards to those who help me and give them a $5 McDonalds gift card. After that, people usually offer to help me with projects (guess people love the mcflurries ;)
        I am quite afraid that the culture is affecting my perspective. For example, many leaders within the company view our customers as difficult, lazy, stupid. It’s “us vs. them” mentality. I found myself one day complaining about being disrespected to another colleague. I stopped myself and went into deep mental rehab. I thought, “How long can I maintain a positive attitude when management pushes this in meetings?” To counter this I’ve got a great team: wife, church family, friends, positive coworkers. Pretty solid line-up.
        Has anyone ever left a company because of values (I know there are some…)? Did you tell your boss it was because of your values? How did that go?

  • Joe Lalonde

    My commitment has been waning recently. That could be improved. 

  • Mohdazeem09

    good eve’ing sir , i want work in ur organisation . At present  i was working  in iihm college  as faculty of housekeeping. i was not fulfill with payment.

  • Heather Matthews

    I have watched courteous co-workers benefit from their kindness inside the corporation.  They seem to build a base of supporters – though maybe not even realizing it – and when an “SOS” call for help goes out, employees from all kinds of different departments show up.  “People ARE more important than paper”…as I heard and learned several years ago.  Thanks, Jeremy.  Good post.  Heather

    • Jeremy Kingsley

      I appreciate you sharing your positive experience in seeing people help co-workers when an “SOS” goes out. Great quote “People ARE more important than paper.”

  • Doug Watsabaugh

    This is a great article that strips away all the nonsense and gets down to business. I’d be interested in hearing your recommendations on how to get people to be concerned about their courtesy, when it’s not as easy to learn or question as commitment and competency.

    • Jeremy Kingsley

      Like most values, courtesy must be lived out day to day from the top down. Leaders must define it, teach it, live it, and expect it.  When people are constantly exposed to courtesy, it can become contagious. I have been fortunate with mentors who walked me through lessons as a young man and I am very thankful for that.

  • Luke Rumley

    What about “Curious?” Sad that courtesy has to make a list like this, though if common courtesy isn’t common anymore…

  • Rick Toburen

    Excellent post!  Love the comments about becoming more educated in your area.  When a person is through growing..they’re through!!  Great leaders are humble leaders who never stop realizing the need for personal and professional growth.  

    • Jeremy Kingsley

      Great word on “when a person is through growing..they’re through!” I couldn’t agree more. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 

  • Russ

    Too often employees want the “microwave” experience in their career path. Supervisors need people who are willing to put in the effort to truly earn the advancements. All of the three C’s are vital, but the ground level is competency … are you effective in delivering results? You need to have both the what (competency) and the how (commitment and courtesy).

    It’s important to note that the best path is not always the fastest path. If you “begin with the end in mind” (credit Stephen Covey), each opportunity needs to be viewed in the context of the end. Sometimes, lateral moves are more important in development than promotions and  more often leads to longer term sustainability and career growth.

    A final note, I’ll suggest another C — chemistry. Sometimes, we’re not a fit within an organization either due to giftedness or vision. It’s best to discover this early so that you get with a company where you can live out the 3 C’s with passion.

    • Jeremy Kingsley

      Thanks for your post! Great wisdom in viewing each opportunity in context. I like the suggestion of a fourth “C” with chemistry. Why do some sports teams have “All Star Players” yet can’t win a championship? Lack of Chemistry. Chemistry brings synergy, synergy brings productivity. 

  • Aaron Cummings

    Great advice for a recent college graduate, such as myself. Some days you wonder why others are going farther, faster; and this is at least part of the reason why!

  • Ideal Niche

    A perfect subordinate love to work under a perfect boss but the real trial starts when one of them is not much perfect. Here the more ordeal is sure for subordinate if his or her boss lacks in professionalism. 

  • Chizoba Adimba Noel

    wow! i reaaly enjoyed this  was thinking why do i need to get the boss’s attention in the first place but you even if you are doing okay you still want more responsibility and besides who can’t do with a pay raise!

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